It’s no secret that puppies are plenty of work. Aside from the sweet little paws, tiny bodies and adorable yelping noises, there are hours of training involved, and hundreds of accidents to clean up. For many dog owners, the excitement of having a new puppy is worth the investment, but for most of us, life is just too busy to start at square one. Here are several reasons why you should consider bringing a senior dog into your home.

5 Reasons to adopt a senior dog

  • They are usually trained: Most adult and senior dogs at shelters and rescue homes have already undergone basic training. Instead of commanding “sit” “stay” and “down” until you are blue in the face, consider getting a dog who will not go digging through the trash, or jumping up on strangers.
  • Their personality is established. Many pet owners have purchased young puppies based on “cuteness” alone, only to find that they develop demanding or aggressive personalities. Even adorable dogs can turn into willful monsters, in spite of the owner’s attempt to train them. With a senior dog, there are no surprises and unknowns about their personality, and you leave the shelter fully aware of what you are getting into.
  • They are patient and more “mellow.” There is a lot to be said for dogs who are easy going and low-key. For families with children, this is especially important, as rambunctious young dogs have been known to knock over or accidentally hurt children while playing with them. While some breeds may be more mellow than others, the majority of senior dogs tend to be consistently patient with little people. With a senior dog, you won’t have to worry about your toddler losing a finger when he accidentally pulls the mature pup’s tail!
  • They are easily adaptable. Whether you live in a 4 bedroom house or a studio apartment, senior dogs have less energy than adolescent pooches who prefer to race around the property all day. Seniors can easily adapt to smaller spaces, and will simply be grateful to have someone to share it with.
  • They are GREAT for younger kids. Though most children dream of receiving a puppy with a big red bow around its neck, giving a wiggly pup as a child’s first pet might not be the best decision. Puppies can be unruly; potty training is not for the faint of heart, and obedience training takes patience and persistence. By adopting a senior dog, you are not committing to the next 12-15 years of care; instead, your child will learn to provide for a dog that requires minimal effort. That way when the time comes to replace him, your child might be at a better age to handle caring for a puppy, having become accustomed to what a dog needs.

TIP: Still want to make the senior dog purchase as exciting as a new puppy? Take your child to an adult dog rescue, but before you go in, tell her she can pick ANY dog to take home with her. Explain that in doing so she is saving the dog’s life, and giving him a happy life and new family. When she has picked the dog of choice, go to the pet store and stock up on a new bed and toys, letting your child pick everything out. This will give them all the control and thrill of having a new pet, and it won’t matter if the dog is a little gray!

Above all, by purchasing a senior dog, you will be doing society a great service. Far too many pets are abandoned, neglected and euthanized; by rescuing one of these pets you are providing hope for a good life and helping keep canines off the streets.